Summary: Purchased second hand. Manual focus. Crisp images. Pleasing background blurring at wider apertures. At narrow apertures, the 7 blades are readily apparent on blurred circular highlights. There might be some scratches on the glass. I'll need to shoot more at various apertures with bland background. With the close up shooting I've been doing, only once or twice have I seen something that looks suspicious.
Excerpt: I was able to take a few shots with this lens before I had to return it. The sharpness and micro detail for this focal length was astounding. For some reason the aperture could not be adjusted from the camera. I bought it for this reason since I already own a 55mm 3.5 micro AI. The 2.8 AI-s is even a little sharper. I have never had a problem with a Nikon lens in 30 years so I was surprised. I will order another one.
Summary: I've owned this lens, previously; however, I was using it mostly for slideduplicating. It was excellent in that regard. I've used newer macro lenses in longer focal lengths; and admittedly, they are worth more than the extra bucks it costs to purchase these newer lens designs/optics. All the same, this lens' limitations in full functionality with current cameras are its only true drawbacks. I've had a chance to use it, again; and I must say it's better than I thought.
Summary: My favorite lens is the buttery smooth 55 2.8 f.2.8. A bit short for hardcore macro work, but my Mamiya 120 f4 does the trick for that. The 55mm works when things are tight. Brings clarity in the fog of night, turns smiles into sunshine. Its crisp, clean, and just the right length for portraiture.
Summary: This lens is just fantastic. You can get it cheap, I got mine free as a hand-me-down. It is widely regarded as the sharpest lens nikon has ever made. Although I have not used nearly enough nikon lenses to validate this, I can say that it is ridiculously sharp. When it's stopped down to f/8 or so the depth of field is fairly wide and you aren't losing any sharpness to diffraction.
Excerpt: If you are into shooting subject matter where you want to focus down to 9 inches, this is the lens! I bought it for close up work with my F2AS. For a while, I carried my faster 50mm lens with me as well, but once I saw how amazingly sharp this lens is, I rarely carry the 50mm now. This lens is fast enough for most general photography and it's sharpness will amaze you!